After months of uncertainty, and finally the announcement that the Wyoming High School Activities Association would be moving forward with fall sports, the Bearcats have returned to their den.
Practices for most sports began Aug. 17, with golf beginning a week prior, and so far they’ve gone on without any COVID-19 related issues.
Each student-athlete is screened prior to each practice to check for temperatures and fill out questionnaires. The football team makes sure each player has their own water bottle and players don’t share. One athlete was chastised for getting the rim to his water bottle too close to the faucet when refilling.
“We have been doing quite a bit with regards to COVID-19,” volleyball coach Angela Rhoades said. “We’ve been making sure kids are not having symptoms and separating teams for smaller numbers at practice. We do try to practice wearing masks when we cannot social distance during things like time outs. We spread way out for our conditioning and really just try the best we can to be health-minded so we can continue with the season.”
“After a week of it we’re getting pretty efficient with the new kind of practices,” football head coach Jay Rhoades said. Kids are kids and they want to be together but we’re doing the best we can.”
When it was announced that schools would be reopening and sports would be allowed, nobody was sure how many students would opt to participate in virtual learning.
Just over 100 students across the entire district opted out of classes, and as far as the coaches know, no players have opted out of this season. The golf team has actually seen a higher number of student-athletes decide to play this season, according to coach Chase Plumb.
“We have more kids than we ever had,” Plumb said. “We’re up to about 30 kids golfing. Every kid I expected to have back from last year are here along with many more. It has made practices a little difficult to separate, but having a lot of kids is a good problem to have.”
Although everything has been so far so good, the uncertainty still hangs in the air.
Getting through practice with the same group of athletes is one thing, but competing against other teams will be its own test.
Golf has already attended meets, but the rest of the fall sports will begin their seasons in the following weeks.
Volleyball opens up with a quad tournament at home this Saturday, and the football team has their first scrimmage on Friday.
I really have no idea how this year will go in regards to COVID-19,” Angela said. “I am hoping we won’t have to miss games or quarantine during the season. The girls have been working really hard and I would hate to see them not get an opportunity to continue on with play.”
For now, the athletes are just appreciative of the opportunity to play, and are hoping for the best.
“I think they know that at anytime it can get shut down,” Jay said. “They come out and live everyday to play a little bit. Taking a season game by game is a cliche, but with this season we will truly be taking it day by day. At any moment this whole thing can get shut down, so we just have to enjoy what we can get.”